Bellator 180 results, highlights: Chael Sonnen outpoints Wanderlei Silva for win

NEW YORK -- A grudge match it wasn't.

Three years after they were supposed to fight in UFC and never did, light heavyweights Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva finally met in the main event of Saturday's Bellator NYC pay-per-view in Madison Square Garden.

Outside of a pair of small pockets of action on the feet, the pair of 40-year-old's, with just one fight between them over the last four years, very much looked their age as Sonnen relied on his wrestling to maul and dominate Silva by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27 twice).

The victory was a 180 from Sonnen's lifeless Bellator debut in January, when he returned from a three-year retirement and a lengthy drug suspension to lose via pathetic first-round submission to Tito Ortiz.

Sonnen (29-15-1) had much more life on Saturday, instantly taking Silva down in the first and third rounds, and went on to control 90 percent of the action from top position on the ground. But his success ultimately robbed the fight of its entertainment, during an already wild and bizarre PPV.

"As I look around this arena, all I could think to myself is, 'God damn, I hate New York,'" Sonnen said, during a pro wrestling-style promo that also took aim at Ortiz and legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, who was knocked out by Matt Mitrione in the co-main event. "I made Tito Ortiz tap out in less than a minute ... When it comes to you Fedor Emelianenko, I only need one shot."

Chael Sonnen works over Wanderlei Silva at Bellator 180 at Madison Square Garden. USATSI

Ortiz, 42, who retired after his victory over Sonnen five months ago, was seated in the front row and focused his attention on hurling trash talk at Sonnen from the national anthems until long after the final bell. At one point, the crowd became so tired of Ortiz's actions that they coined a pair of insult-laded chants aimed at Ortiz, which caused him to stand up and flip them off.

It appeared as if Bellator may have been hyping a possible Ortiz-Sonnen rematch, as the broadcast closed with a split-screen of the two fighters during Sonnen's post-fight rant.

The actual fight was an incredibly disappointing one for Silva (35-13-1), a native of Brazil and veteran of Pride and UFC, who made his return to fighting after a four-year break which included his own lengthy drug suspension.

Silva had some brief moments, including midway through Round 1 when he dropped Sonnen with a winging right hand. But he was visibly exhausted from grappling with Sonnen and was unable to work back to his feet after the opening round.

The final round opened with Silva's final window of opportunity as he caught Sonnen with a pair of punches. As soon as Sonnen attempted an instant takedown, however, the fight was over.

Large groups of fans began to leave the arena long before the final round came to a close. After the final bell, Silva angrily pushed a full-mounted Sonnen off of him and protested in frustration.

Bellator PPV results

Chael SonnenWanderlei SilvaUnanimous decision
Matt MitrioneFedor Emelianenko1st-round TKO
Brent PrimusMichael Chandler1st-round TKO
Zach FreemanAaron Pico1st-round submission

Douglas Lima (c)

Lorenz Larkin

Unanimous decision

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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